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  1. Slave to the algorithm

    October 27th 2017

    YouTube is currently rolling our a trial subscription service that allows viewers to directly pay content creators. It seems this is a reaction to the significantly increased presence of Patreon in this space.

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  2. Starting an industry body in the open

    March 30th 2017

    One of the key principles of an industry body is that it creates its own legitimacy. We're looking to create a grassroots organisation that will provide an informed and authoritative voice and to achieve that our intention is to bootstrap an organisation that is democratically owned by it's members.

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  3. Industry body considered beneficial

    March 21st 2017

    At the last Highland Fling Sessions event in Glasgow we discussed the idea of a professional association for the web. During the course of our discussion it became clear that there are two main types, a professional standards body and an industry body.

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  4. Privacy enhanced mobile

    February 10th 2017

    With their plethora of sensors and always-on data connections, mobile devices track a large amount of data which is passed on to the services you use. There are numerous reasons why you might want a device that has enhanced privacy - even if you have nothing to fear hide. Setting one up isn't a simple task but can be completed in a evening*. If you haven't changed the operating system on a mobile before it can seem a bit daunting but follow the steps through and be patient.

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  5. A week without clouds

    January 24th 2017

    Working within the tech bubble it's clear how pervasive the big third party clouds are and how much data they are able to collect when you hand over ownership of your digital estate. To see how practical it is without third party clouds I chose a week when I was on holiday to disconnect. I don't use Microsoft, Facebook or Apple so that left Google and Amazon.

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  6. Qubes: security and privacy by isolation

    December 27th 2016

    Recently I've been using Qubes OS and figuring out how to get my VPN set up was a light bulb moment on how it fits together. By isolating different areas of concern it is possible to gain a level of security and privacy that would be hard to achieve with a traditional - monolithic - operating system.

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  7. Indexing Client Side Rendered Content

    December 14th 2016

    With both the optimised and control sites indexed the client side rendered site was lagging behind. As it was already several days behind the control site, rather than waiting to see how long it would take to be indexed naturally and in order to move on with further experiments, it was time to help the process along.

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  8. Initial Indexing

    December 13th 2016

    Three days after the soft launch the control shop showed up in searches for the brand name indicating that Google had found the site and indexed the content. However, whilst the client side rendered site had been crawled it still hasn't been indexed for the brand name after five days.

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  9. Soft Launch Redux

    December 9th 2016

    One of the main reasons for conducting controlled experiments like this is that you see results you weren't expecting. A case in point was the soft launch of the optimised shop.

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  10. Soft Launch

    December 8th 2016

    Having set out the outline of the experiment it's now time to get some web pages out there to be indexed. Whilst the time line will be determined by how Google reacts to changes in the sites, the narrative will follow the typical scenarios encountered by real companies.

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  11. SEO Laboratory

    December 6th 2016

    This is an experiment that aims to test SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) techniques in a controlled fashion. In a commercial setting it's often hard to determine which factors are having effect because there are so many variables, ranging from internal content and marketing strategy through to external factors such as competitors optimising for the same terms.

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  12. How to answer the Net Promoter Score question

    January 9th 2016

    The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is widely used by companies to assess their product. Whilst it may have some use as a standard format for assessment of user satisfaction, in practice it frequently seems to be used as a corporate top-trumps ego exercise.

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  13. User Queries

    June 28th 2015

    In the CSS breakout session at Edge Conf the idea of user queries was discussed. There seemed to be a consensus that this was something that was worth progressing so here are my thoughts on the matter.

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  14. Thoughts on GoogleIO and WWDC

    June 8th 2015

    I've been noticing a steady shift in reactions to the big announcements shows from Google and Apple. They're still presented with as much - if not more - of a fanfare about the new; revolutionary; beautiful; engaging; utopian; pick your hyperbole of choice; products and features that will change our lives. However, despite using the language of revolution people have seen enough of these by now to know that the reality is going to be incremental change some time in the future.

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  15. Lies, damn lies and Amazon user agents

    May 28th 2015

    Recently I was looking at something on an Amazon Fire phone and, specifically, the user agent string of the Silk browser. What I found is a perfect demonstration of the main problem associated with sniffing user agents: they are very unreliable.

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  16. Relevancy and the moderate usefulness of Google Now

    April 21st 2015

    I've been using Google Now for a while and have found it moderately useful. However, for all the virtual intelligence it shows when it's useful it's the lack of intelligence it shows when it's not that means that - whilst I use it - I don't trust it.

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